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Unclaimed Property Rules and Time Limits for North Dakota

Filed under Basic Accounting. Fact checked on May 24, 2012.

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Learn the unclaimed property rules and their time limits for the state of North Dakota.

In North Dakota, all things relating to unclaimed property are handled by the Unclaimed Property Division of the North Dakota State Land Development.

  • As a business owner, this will be the agency to contact if you possess unclaimed property (unpaid wages, for example). Remember that you are subject to both reporting requirements and the obligation to turn over abandoned property to the state.
  • It is also the point of contact if you believe that you may have knowingly, or unknowingly, abandoned property (for example, failing to get back a security deposit, didn't receive a tax refund).

North Dakota businesses have a number of responsibilities concerning unclaimed property. Initially, written notice must be sent to the apparent owner of the unclaimed property, if known. If the property remains unclaimed, businesses have a number of filing and reporting requirements to fulfill. Most importantly, businesses are required to turn over any and all unclaimed property to the state. Stiff penalties apply to businesses who fail to comply with any of these requirements.

Individuals should know that North Dakota property is generally presumed abandoned if it has remained unclaimed by the owner for more than three years after it became payable or distributable. However, this time limit varies depending on the type of property involved. Once abandoned property is turned over to the state by a business, an individual then has the burden of reclaim it from the state.

Reporting Unclaimed Property in North Dakota

In North Dakota, a holder of abandoned property must file a verified annual report containing information concerning the property required by the State Land Department. The report is due on or before November 1, as of June 30 (for insurance companies, it is due May 1, as of the preceding December 31). Report forms are sent out by the Land Department in mid-August (mid-February for insurance companies).

The Land Department may require any person who has not filed a report to submit a report stating whether or not he is holding any reportable unclaimed property.

Prior notice to owner. Not more than 120 days before filing the report, the holder must send written notice to the apparent owner at his last known address informing him that the holder is in possession of unclaimed property.

Delivery. The abandoned property must be delivered or remitted to the Land Department simultaneously with the filing of the report. From the date of delivery or remittance, the holder is relieved of any liability for safekeeping of the property.

Recordkeeping. A business must generally maintain related records 10 years after the unclaimed property becomes reportable. However, the period is three years for traveler's checks, money orders, and similar financial instruments.

Penalties. The penalty for willfully failing to render a report or to perform other required duties is a fine of $100 per day of violation, up to the value of the property that should have been reported, paid or delivered.

A person who willfully fails to pay or deliver property to the Land Department is subject to a civil penalty equal to 25 percent of the value of the property that should have been paid or delivered. A person who willfully refuses to pay or deliver property after written demand by the Land Department is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.

Claiming Unclaimed Property in North Dakota

In North Dakota, property is generally presumed abandoned if it has remained unclaimed by the owner for more than three years after it became payable or distributable. However, this time limit varies depending on the type of property involved. Once abandoned property is turned over to the state by a business, an individual then has the burden of reclaim it from the state.

Locating abandoned property held by the state. Unclaimed property held by the state may be found by searching the state's website (http://www.land.state.nd.us/).

To find out if other states may be holding your unclaimed property, search the national database established by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA).

Filing a claim. A person, excluding another state, claiming an interest in any property paid or delivered as abandoned property may file a claim with the North Dakota State Land Department, who must consider and decide on such claim within 90 days after it is filed. The procedure is essentially the same where the claimant is another state, except that the claim will be allowed only in those circumstances where the other state has some basis for claiming a custodial relationship with the property as enumerated in the statute.

Any person claiming an interest in property delivered to the Land Department may fill out a claim form online (http://www.land.state.nd.us/) after performing a successful online search. The form should be printed and mailed in to the address indicated.

A person aggrieved by a decision of the Land Department or whose claim was not acted upon within 90 days after the filing date may, within 90 days after the decision of the Land Department or 180 days after filing the claim not acted upon, commence an action to establish a claim against the Land Department in an appropriate district court.

North Dakota Unclaimed Property Resources

If you're looking for additional information on unclaimed property, we recommend contacting your state's governmental agency that oversees the administration of this area of the law. For help in answering a specific unclaimed property question in North Dakota, contact the following:

North Dakota State Land Department
Unclaimed Property Division
P.O. Box 5523
Bismarck, ND 58506-5523
Phone: (701) 328-2800
Fax: (701) 328-3650
Website: http://www.land.state.nd.us/

North Dakota Abandoned Property Time Limits

Property Type Presumed Abandoned After
Bank account five years
Checks or drafts three years
Business checks: two years
Demutualization proceeds no specific provision
Gift certificates, gift cards, and credit memos Credit memos: three years
Insurance policies Life or annuity policies: three years
IRAs or retirement funds no specific provision
Money orders seven years
Other intangible personal property not otherwise specified three years
Includes mineral proceeds and properly originated or issued by an entity in the state
Proceeds from class action suits no specific provision
Property distributable by a business association in the course of dissolution one year
refunds: two years
Property held by courts or public agencies three years
Property held by fiduciaries three years
Safe deposit boxes three years
Shares in a financial institution five years
Stocks, dividends, and distributions three years
Traveler's checks 15 years
Deposits and advances owed utility company customer one year
Wages or salaries two years

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